MANILA, Philippines – Smokers caught puffing away in public places in Metro Manila will now receive a warning from Metro Manila Development Authority enforcers as a public smoking ban takes effect in Metro Manila Monday.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said smokers caught violating the ban will receive a warning but will not be arrested. He said the warnings are part of a month-long information campaign on Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
After the information campaign, smokers who still violate the public smoking ban will be fined 500 pesos for the first offense, 1,000 pesos for the second offense and 5,000 pesos for the ensuing violations.
The ban prohibits lighting up in bus terminals, waiting sheds, schools, hospitals, recreational places and inside public utility vehicles starting May 30 as part of a joint campaign to protect Filipinos from secondhand smoke.
Tolentino said smokers can still smoke in designated areas.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization showed that smoking kills 10 Filipinos every hour, or 80,000 every year.